While he's turned in some brilliant interim work , it's been four years since Marc Ducret's last solo project. Now 46, Ducret worked more than two years on Qui parle? (which translates to "Who's speaking?"), wherein his conceptual thrust begins to overtake his colossal aptitude as a pure player. With the members of his working trio plus ten other musicians, three actors and a singer, Ducret has created a collage involving sound and studio as much as pen and paper.
Jazz is only a small part of "all the sounds: the beautiful ones, the unpleasant ones, the very strong ones, the very soft ones, the very calm ones" that Ducret adores and worships. This partially explains his love of percussive and extended technique on a torrent of axes, and his disdain for classification as an avant gardist.
"Le Menteur" begins as a rock riff punctured by obliquely voiced power chords, then a slowly syncopated trumpet and guitar unison line seemingly excerpted from a French spy movie. The air of mystery is bludgeoned by Nirvana-like power chords over laptop bleeps, yielding spare horns and acoustic guitar, with nothing but the ticking of a clock, perhaps attached to a time-bomb, marking tempo. The bomb indeed detonates, as does Ducret, into molten territory, spurring thoughts of what it might be like if he were to radically shift career paths and front is own rock band.
"L'Annexe" is introed in "rural" acoustic fashion, going electric as an instantly-classic distorted riff sinks into the ear, offset in succession by the members of a whack horn section. Deftly thrilling, the orchestration literally pauses for a deep breath, supplanted by pulsing bass before Ducret's magnificent solo turn. Marc often interrupts or overlaps legato fluidity and whammy-tremmed phraseology with staccato flurry, and it's particularly effective in this raw trio section. Few guitarists so thoroughly investigate the possibilities of toying with time: stretching, breaking it, or keeping the flow, often in direct contradiction of the rhythm section.
Cue up "Qui Parle" into to "Emportez-Moi" for encapsulation of the project's oeuvre. Following an introduction of entwining word-play, the music also strings together seemingly unrelated elements that should likewise be appreciated for their cadence and contour. One of the world's great fretless guitarists, Ducret spins out sitar-like phrases utilizing notes with pitches repeated on different strings, going choppily rapid fire before held tones climb the fretboard. The linked phrases and techniques descend us down a reticulating staircase into a soundtrack supplanted by dialogue seemingly from a Truffaut film, a seductive soliloquy redolent in analogy.
We can only scratch the surface on Ducret's latest ambitious statement-an alternative rock, avant-garde, textural, chamber-jazz soundtrack to his own film noir. This all just works so well it suggests that even within the context of his most famous and fruitful associations, Ducret may be unwittingly fragmenting, even constraining his concept, as well as the potential of his reach as an artist who truly matters. As the auteur himself says, roughly translated from French , "Often, the enthralling things, and those which endure, escape all categories."
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